For the first time, the share of renewable energy in France’s electricity consumption has exceeded 30%.

This increase in the share of renewables in electricity consumption is a logical consequence of the increase in the number of windmills and solar panels in France, with differences depending on the region.


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A wind turbine near Chartres in Ure-et-Loire on March 14, 2024.  (GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP)

A symbolic milestone was reached in France last year: the share of renewable energy exceeded 30% of total electricity consumption for the first time. This is an increase of six points compared to the previous year. The figure comes from the 2023 Panorama published on Thursday March 29 by energy sector players including Enedis and RTE. This result is, among other things, a logical consequence of the increase in the number of wind turbines and solar panels in the region. Renewable energy production thus exceeded 135 terawatt/hours, the unit of measurement for energy companies, an increase of 23% compared to 2022.

And if hydraulic power, i.e. dams, remains relatively the first renewable energy in France, solar and especially wind power has seen a spectacular rise. Offshore wind energy also brings little cost for the first time, thanks to the parks installed off the coast of Saint-Brieuc and Fécamp. However, all this has to be qualified because the volumes still remain modest: about 50 terawatt/hours for wind power and 21 for solar power. At the same time, nuclear power alone accounts for 320 terawatt/hours, or about two of the total power generation in France. representing a third, while the fleet of power plants was not operating at full capacity due to operating multiple reactors.

Behind Germany, Spain or Portugal

In France, there are significant differences between regions when it comes to renewable energy. Hotes-de-France appears to be France’s champion in onshore wind power while New Aquitaine, in contrast, stands out in solar power. This obviously depends on weather factors as well as the volume of wind turbines or photovoltaic panels installed. In New Aquitaine, the production of electricity using solar energy, for example, made it possible to cover more than 13% of the regional electricity consumption last year, or eleven times more than in Normandy or the Hautes. in -de-France and four times more in grand est.

According to the overview, France has achieved its intermediate objectives in terms of electricity production capacity based on renewable energy at 93%. In other words, there is a delay of half a year for solar power in France and about a year and a half for onshore wind power. Due to the historical presence of nuclear power in our energy mix, France appears to be lagging behind the European average, where the share of renewable energy in total electricity generation already exceeds 40%. Germany and Spain have also surpassed the 50% threshold in 2023, while Portugal has reached 61%.

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